Terry Fox runners come out in droves to raise funds for cancer research. Part 2 of a 4 part photo essay.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 17, 2012  After months of organizational work. Hours of committee meetings – the day had arrived.  The weather was great.  Just a little nippy at the start of the day when the Terry Fox Run team began to gather on site.  A sign that the weather was going to be perfect.

With everyone in place; security checked out; the starting gate filled with air and the food and snack tables getting set up and the ladies getting into place at the registration tables – the day was getting close to starting.

The crowd was coming together – you could feel the buzz in the air.

Runners were lined up at the starting gate – but not quite yet.  The exercise girls from Cedar Springs had to take them through a short warm up.

Starting gate is readied for the runners.

And then they were off.  Carrying on a 32 year tradition in Burlington that has seen more than $1.4 million raised.  We will let you know what the amount raised was this year.

The warm up ladies from Cedar Springs took the runners through a series of exercises before getting them through the start up gate.

The tradition began back in 1980 when the first Terry Fox run took place and raised $4000  It`s been a steady grow upwards since then.

In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, Terry Fox embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over $500 million has been raised in his name.

And they were off. There are parents out there who wonder why these lads don’t move quite as fast in getting ready for school or doing their homework.  Look for the Tweeters getting out the word.

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, high school and Simon Fraser University. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg. He also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

They just kept pouring through the starting gate.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada’s 24 million people. He began with little fanfare from St. John’s, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day.

Good start and setting a nice pace.

Pumping away on the backstretch going east from the canal on the way to the Waterfront Hotel. Nice 5k run

Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money. He was forced to end his run outside of Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation’s top sportsman and was named Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.


Doing the first half of the Burlington Terry Fox 5k run

These ladies are in the homestretch of the Terry Fox 5k run.

Each runner sets their own pace. The backstretch of the run is easy going and well shaded.

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Rolland “Rolly” Fox and Betty Fox. Rolly was a switchman for the Canadian National Railway. Terry had an elder brother, Fred, a younger brother, Darrell and a younger sister, Judith.  His family moved to Surrey, British Columbia, in 1966, then settled in Port Coquitlam in 1968.  His parents were dedicated to their family, and his mother was especially protective of her children; it was through her that Fox developed his stubborn dedication to whatever task he committed to do.  His father recalled that he was extremely competitive, noting that Terry hated to lose so much that he would continue at any activity until he succeeded.

One of the younger runners enters the home stretch of the Terry Fox 5k run. Many his age did a second go around to make it a 10k run.


The runners working the back stretch of the 5k run. You name it and that kind of runner was out doing their part.

He was an enthusiastic athlete, playing soccer, rugby and baseball as a child.  His passion was for basketball and though he stood only five feet tall and was a poor player at the time, Fox sought to make his school team in grade eight.

That finishing line looks good to everyone that sees it. Some used it as an opportunity to make a final dash.

His physical education teacher and basketball coach at Mary Hill Junior High School felt he was better suited to be a distance runner and encouraged him to take up the sport. Fox had no desire for cross-country running, but took it up because he respected and wanted to please his coach.[6] He was determined to continue playing basketball, even if he was the last substitute on the team. Fox played only one minute in his grade eight season but dedicated his summers to improving his play. He became a regular player in grade nine and earned a starting position in grade ten.  In grade 12, he won his high school’s athlete of the year award jointly with his best friend Doug Alward.

Though he was initially unsure if he wanted to go to university, Fox’s mother convinced him to enrol at Simon Fraser University, where he studied kinesiology as a stepping stone to becoming a physical education teacher.  He tried out for the junior varsity basketball team, earning a spot ahead of more talented players due to his determination.

Part 1 of a four part photo essay on the Terry Fox Run

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